ALL those who have been cited in the Auditor General’s report for misappropriation and misapplication of public funds and abuse of office must be arrested and prosecuted because it is a crime to loot public resources, President Edgar Lungu has said.
And President Lungu has charged that there is no need for him to move and order the law enforcement agencies to arrest those cited in the AG’s report because the law, framework and funding was given to all the law enforcement agencies to effectively and efficiently perform their functions.
Speaking to journalists at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport shortly before departure for Madagascar for the COMESA heads of state summit, President Lungu said misappropriation of public resources was a crime and those involved should be arrested and be made to account for their actions.
The President said the Zambia Police Service did not need to wait for instructions or orders to follow those who had been cited as having abused their offices and public funds. He said if it was an act of abuse of office the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should immediately move in and arrest those involved so that they could be prosecuted.
The Head of State said gone were the days when the President would direct the law enforcement agencies to arrest those who were coming in conflict with the law.
“The culture of abusing the State starts with ordering the police on who to arrest and who to release. I do not do that and I will not do that. I do not instruct the police to arrest,” President Lungu said.
He said he did not stop the law enforcement agencies from arresting anyone, adding that if a crime had been committed by anyone the police, ACC and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) should do their work without being reminded.
“Why should they get instructions from the President? I do not tell the police what to do. I do not tell them what not to do. So even those who are saying release those people who are convicted should know that I do not instruct the courts of law to release prisoners neither do I tell the police to arrest. I can pardon if you are convicted,” President Lungu said.
Meanwhile, President Lungu said he was going for the COMESA heads of state summit for the first time, adding that it was his maiden meeting.